Dancing Duck brewery was founded by husband and wife team Ian and Rachel in December 2010.
Ian has worked as a brewery design engineer for 14 years, his job has taken him all over the world from Newcastle to Africa to Bury St Edmonds to the Caribbean to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and then back to Burton on Trent again.
He figures out the design for the breweries and how they will run most efficiently whilst having the least impact on the environment, then when they have been built, he goes off and makes sure they all work properly. He loves real ale and has been drinking it for as long as he can remember but it was actually his wife who came up with the idea to open a brewery.
Rachel is a relative new comer to real ale, years ago she tried the odd half of Bank’s Bitter but had never really been inclined to drink anything other than lager or wine. Perhaps, like many women, she had always seen real ale as a man’s drink, Ian had spent many an evening down the pub trying to persuade her to try his much loved tipple and in 2007 she eventually did. Well he got a bit more than he had bargained for; she liked it so much she decided she wanted to make it for a living!
It actually took Rachel quite a long time to persuade Ian that setting up a brewery was a good idea but eventually he came round to her way of thinking.
During the time she took to convince him of her plan she was busy learning as much as she possibly could about real ale on both a practical and theoretical basis. They converted one of the rooms in their house into a mini brewery, making 35 test brews (1400+ pints) until they were completely happy with their recipes. Rachel was lucky enough to get a job at Blue Monkey Brewery six months after they opened who their first year brewing they won several prestigious awards for their beer and the hands on experience she gained there has been invaluable.
It’s Rachel who runs the brewery on a day-to-day basis, as far as she is concerned brewing is the best job she’s ever had, “it’s immensely satisfying producing something that you know people have been looking forward to all day or week and are going to really enjoy.”
Ian’s idea of an enjoyable job does not involve shovelling mash tuns out, cleaning fermenting vessels or delivering weighty casks of beer to pubs and so he still designs and commissions breweries in various places around the world. When he is in the UK he lends his engineering expertise to, (in his words), doing a bit of tinkering to make things work better, leaving tools in the wrong place and generally getting in Rachel’s way.